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UK families struggling to feed themselves forgotten on World Food Day

economicsProfessor Elizabeth Dowler, Professor of Food and Social Policy at the University of Warwick claims UK families struggling to afford to feed themselves are being forgotten in the debate about rising costs of food commodities across the world.

To mark World Food Day, the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation is the latest to highlight the rising cost of food commodities following disastrous grain harvests in the US and Russia. Professor Dowler said for European consumers this adds to the problems of poor fruit and vegetable production from the summer’s mix of extreme heat and drought – or lack of sun and torrential rain.

She said: “These factors will translate into ever rising prices at the supermarket till for UK consumers as well as the (rightly) more lamented poor farmers and consumers elsewhere. Who is taking account of the impact on hard-hit households in the UK? Nobody much, except the person – usually a woman – trying to balance the budget and feed the family from a shrinking purse, along with the voices of volunteers in community support networks, particularly foodbanks.

“Our recent work (funded by Defra) with families facing cut-backs shows people struggling to feed themselves decently and healthily, worried about the impact on children, and very clear they do not enjoy ‘food security’ now or in the future. Relying on foodbanks isn’t a sustainable or socially fair answer, as experience in other parts of Europe and north America show clearly. We need more creative answers from policy makers and local people alike.”

To contact Professor Dowler, call 02476 523549, 07801 573006. We have ISDN facilities on campus for radio interviews and a Globelynx camera installed to link for TV interviews. For more information please call Kelly Parkes-Harrison, k dot e dot parkes at warwick dot ac dot uk


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Professor Dowler is based in the Department of Sociology

Professor Dowler is also a trustee for the Food Ethics Council